MORRISANIA — Homeless veterans have a new place to live in the South Bronx.
The nonprofit housing group Urban Pathways just opened up a building at 1351-1355 Boston Rd. that will house 43 veterans who are either chronically homeless or low-income.
"We wanted to make sure that those of you who have served this country have a place to call home," said Urban Pathways CEO Fred Shack.
The development, called the Boston Road Veterans' Residence, consists of 43 furnished studio apartments with full kitchens and baths, along with a courtyard for all of the tenants.
Urban Pathways will also provide services at the building to help the veterans with skills such as meal preparation and financial management, and the residence will have a part-time psychiatrist on hand as well.
No veterans live in the building yet, but Urban Pathways has already received several applicants for its apartments and plans to start moving people in as soon as next week, according to the nonprofit's Chief Operating Officer Ronald Abad.
The new building is located right next to 1344 Clinton Ave., another Urban Pathways residence where formerly homeless veteran Gloria Montez lives.
Montez, 57, served in the Air Force from 1979 to 1984 and spent another year as an army reservist but struggled with finding a place to live after leaving the armed forces, she said.
She spent months living out of her car and sleeping on the floor of a friend's house before finding an apartment on Clinton Avenue through Urban Pathways.
"When I first walked through these doors, I said, 'Wow, I am finally home,'" she said. "I sat in the apartment that night and cried tears of joy."
She predicted the veterans moving into the new Boston Road residence would feel the same way.
"I know it’s going to make a huge impact for these homeless veterans that are struggling every day to find a home," she said.
"Once they end up in a place like this, believe me: I’m not saying that their sufferings will go away overnight, but in due time," she continued.
Supportive housing is often a contentious issue in The Bronx, as residents commonly complain that their borough receives more than its fair share of the developments.
However, Deputy Bronx Borough President Aurelia Greene made it clear at the opening that this type of thinking did not apply to the new Urban Pathways building.
"Continue. Bring some more," she said. "We've got the veterans. They need the housing. We want you here."